Posts Tagged With: 91

Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro.

Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro. The first time we ever saw or heard the brand was on social media. At first, we figured it would be one of those private labels again that try to make a few bucks before disappearing into the swamp. The swamp where many other small private labels have been buried over the years. But the more we looked into Antigua Esteli, the more we were intrigued. And the more we wanted to try one of those cigars. We connected with owner and founder Art Garcia and learned more about the brand. It’s more than just a simple private label. Garcia runs his own crew at the factory, his rollers, blenders and buys the tobacco himself. In September we finally met at the Intertabac trade show and weaseled a few cigars so we could finally smoke them


We scored the Antigua Esteli Segovia Maduro Toro. That’s a 6×56 cigar, made in Nicaragua. The fillers and binder are all Nicaraguan. The tobacco comes from four different regions in Nicaragua. The wrapper comes from the San Andres region in Mexico. The shape is unusual, it’s not fully box-pressed, it’s not round but it’s semi box-pressed.


The cigar looks beautiful. An evenly dark, smooth and oily wrapper. Great shape with a triple cap. The cigar feels well constructed. The ring is detailed, with tobacco fields, the logo. And both the American and Nicaraguan flags in a banner combining the two countries. The secondary ring says Segovias Maduro. The aroma is strong, barnyard, wood, and forest come to mind.


The cold draw is easy, and it leaves a peppery flavor on the lips. A tingling sensation. Add a raw tobacco flavor to it, and that’s what the cold draw tastes like. Once lit, there is a mix of coffee, leather, soil, spices, and pepper. The bitterness of the coffee is a nice contrast with the creaminess of the mouthfeel. Soon it’s more coffee with leather and spices. There’s also a bit of citrus, and the mouthfeel remains creamy. After a third, it’s a toasty coffee flavor with wood, spices, and pepper. Still creamy though. The creaminess makes the flavors feel silky smooth. The final third starts with ice cream without the numbing cold of ice cream. Vanilla sweetness, cream, and roasted coffee beans. Then the coffee returns, with way more pepper than before.


The draw is great, and the burn is straight as an arrow. The ash is white, but a bit brittle. The cigar produces a lot of smoke. The flavors are all smooth, round, and soft. Yet medium to medium-full in flavors, and medium in strength. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will
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Categories: 91, Antigua Esteli, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Condega Serie F Maduro Robusto

The Condega brand was founded by Eduardo Fernandez. He came into the business in 1998 as a tobacco grower and years later he founded the brand Condega. The brand was particularly popular in Spain because of the price-quality point, but it was also sold in the United States. But since Fernandez, famous for his Aganorsa leaf, is more interested in growing tobacco than selling cigars, the brand never really took off outside of Spain. And that’s where the Spanish tobacco distributor Gesinta comes in. Their premium cigar division, Casa del Tabaco, purchased the brand from Fernandez for the international markets. In the last few years, the brand is quickly expanding distribution to other European countries, Africa, and the Middle East. Fernandez still holds the rights for Condega on the American market.


The Serie F Maduro only comes in one vitola. That’s the 5×50 Robusto. And it’s the only Condega cigar that isn’t a Nicaraguan puro. The Maduro wrapper comes from Mexico. It’s grown in the San Andres region. The binder and wrappers are all Aganorsa leaf from Nicaragua. The Condega cigars are known for their great price-quality point. In The Netherlands this cigar is 5 euro, in Germany, it’s even cheaper with a price tag of €4,70. And that for a Maduro robusto, packed in a box instead of a bundle.


The wrapper looks good, beautiful Maduro darkness. And it’s natural darkness, as you can see darker smears, it’s not evenly dark. The cigar looks well constructed, with a triple cap. It has the right amount of bounce when squeezed gently. There aren’t thick, ugly veins on the wrapper, so the cigar looks smooth. And the aroma is medium strong with stable, barnyard and wood smells.


The cold draw is smooth. The flavors are pepper, wood, and hay. Right from the start, the cigar is sweet with coffee, pepper, and earthiness. But without the bitterness that often comes with a strong coffee flavor at the beginning of a cigar. There’s a hint of spices too. And then suddenly a lot happens, wood, coffee, spices, pepper, sweetness, and hay. The mouthfeel is quite creamy. The flavors are smooth yet full. After that, the explosion of flavors mellows out, it’s now wood with some spices and a bit of pepper. Halfway the cigar gets very nutty, with sweetness and pepper. There are hints of grass and wood too, but those are faint. The creamy nuttiness is the dominant flavor. The mellow, creamy nuttiness continues to be the main flavor of the cigar, with wood and sweetness. There’s also a faint leather flavor as well.


The draw is great, just the right amount of resistance. The cigar is full-flavored, yet medium to medium full-bodied. The light-colored ash isn’t firm. The smoke could be a little thicker though, but just a bit. The burn had to be corrected once. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes. The cigar is well balanced, smooth and full of flavor.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box

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Categories: 91, Condega, Nicaraguan cigars, TABSA | Tags: , , , , ,

Neya F8 Gringo Ligero Typhoon

Neya F8 Gringo Ligero Typhoon. Roberto P. Duran has been in tobacco all of his life, and so have his ancestors. The family roots in tobacco trace back to the 1920s in Cuba. The Robert P. Duran brand might not be one of the first brands that pop up when you speak to cigar smokers in Europe or the USA. But the brand is very popular in South East Asia. It has a strong fan base in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Ministry of Cigars joined the CSWC qualifier in Kuala Lumpur. Inclusive of the ticket was a 5 count cigar caddy and a few cigars. This cigar, the Neya F8 Gringo was one of the cigars included in the package. It’s made by Nicatabaco and Robert P. Duran.

The cigar has an Ecuadorian Corojo Maduro wrapper. The fillers and binders are grown in Nicaragua. The wrapper is most likely from Duran’s own Azan plantation. The Duran family grows tobacco in Ecuador. The line was released in 2014, shortly after the Neya Classic line. The F8 is supposed to be the amped-up version of the Neya Classic. It replaces the Ecuador Habano wrapper with this Corojo Maduro. There are seven lines available, we are reviewing the 5×58 Gringo

The cigar looks good. A dark leathery wrapper with tooth and some veins. A beautiful deep blue ring with golden details and the drawing of a lady. The secondary ring shows the F8 logo and says Ligero typhoon. That promises some strength. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong. Barnyard and burned wood is the smell of the cigar.

The cold draw is fantastic. And gives a slightly sweet espresso flavor. After lighting, the espresso is strong. The right amount of bitterness softened with some sweetness. It’s a great start. There’s also a hint of leather. The flavors remind me of old school coffee-flavored candy that I used to like as a kid. There’s also a little bit of pepper and some fruity acidity. After a while, the flavors change to toast, coffee, leather with that fruity aftertaste. Slowly the flavors become a little less strong and a little spicier. After a third, a mild vanilla taste is noticeable next to the spice and pepper. The flavors are strong yet mellow and smooth. With a creamy mouthfeel. The vanilla disappears again. Due to the big ring gauge, the cigar isn’t very dynamic, but the coffee, leather, wood, pepper, sweetness, and citrus mixture is very nice.


The draw is fantastic. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness. The burn is good. This is a strong cigar, yet balanced. Full-bodied, full-flavored. The smoke time is three hours and twenty minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box
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Categories: 91, Neya, Nicaraguan cigars, Nicatabaco | Tags: , , , ,

A.J. Fernandez New World Cameroon Churchill

I love Cameroon wrapper, that is my favorite wrapper in the world. And I love all cigars made by A.J. Fernandez. So when I heard that Fernandez was releasing a new cigar with a Cameroon wrapper, I was over the moon. Unfortunately, it took some time for them to reach Europe. And by that time, I had left Europe.

I was happy to see the cigars pop up at the webshop of a Malaysian cigar shop. I decided to drop a few dollars on this cigar. The price was a little higher than what I would pay in Europe or America, but I figured it would be worth it. And I know that the Malaysian tobacco tax is high, so I wasn’t being ripped off by the shop. They charged a fair price and carried some more rare cigars. Time to light this Nicaraguan filler, Nicaraguan binder and Cameroon wrapped 7×48 Churchill.


Let’s start with the ring. It is the regular New World ring with the classic artwork of boats arriving into the new world. The outside of the rings is green, instead of red that’s used on the regular New World line. And green fits, when I think of Africa, I think of green. The secondary ring is gold with green, and red letters. It fits the theme. The wrapper has a nice even color, it doesn’t look as rough and brittle as most Cameroon wrappers, it’s quite pretty actually. The construction feels flawless. The cigar has a dry aroma, dried wood, a little charcoal, those kinds of smells.

The cold draw is perfect. The flavor of the cold draw is plain and pure raw, well fermented, tobacco. After lighting, I taste some licorice, tobacco, and leather. Then the signature Cameroon spice joins green herbs and spices. That comes with coffee and pepper. There’s still some wood too, softwood like pine. And then I also taste some hay, with a mildly creamy mouthfeel. After a third, it is all spices and green herbs, with some citrus and sweetness. The mouthfeel turned to dry. The strength in body and flavor is medium so far. The sweetness reminds me of milk chocolate. In the final third, I pick up some pepper again with oak, spices, herbs and roasted coffee. Suddenly the pepper picks up and becomes the dominant flavor. I was waiting for that to happen. Near the end, I taste licorice through the pepper again, making the flavors go full circle

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The draw is perfect. The light-colored ash is coarse though. The burn is flawless and the smoke is thick. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. It has that typical Cameroon spice and herb profile which I love. The smoke time is two hours and twenty-five minutes

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, once in a while

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Categories: 91, New World, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez | Tags: , , , ,

Diamond Crown Black Diamond Radiant

J.C. Newman and Arturo Fuente have been working together for decades. And all of Newman’s Dominican cigars are made at the Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cya factory. Including this Diamond Crown Black Diamond Radiant. It is a short robusto extra, where the short stands for the 4 ½ inch length, and the extra is in the 54 ring.

This cigar was given to me by a friend, who imports the brand in Malaysia. He said he wanted my opinion on the cigar before he pulled the trigger on bringing the blend in. That’s a lot of pressure, but I am up for the task. So here I go, smoking this cigar with Dominican filler and binder. The wrapper is a Havana seed wrapper from Connecticut. Broadleaf!

The wrapper is dark, smooth and oily. The big ring has a lot of silver which contrasts the darkness of the wrapper. The ring is bright, big and of good quality. The cigar feels good, the right bounce when I gently squeeze the cigar. And the aroma is good too, medium strong, barnyard and wood.

The cold draw is great. I taste an unsuspected gingerbread and pepper flavor in the cold draw. After lighting, I taste strong earthy and coffee flavors. But there is also gingerbread in the flavor and minty freshness. And I like that gingerbread flavor. The cigar is well balanced. The flavors go remain in the coffee, gingerbread, pepper, leather and soil profile, with sometimes some grass, sometimes some vanilla. All with a creamy mouthfeel, After a third, I taste high-quality dark chocolate in the cigar as well. Halfway the pepper gets stronger, with some leaves, chocolate, and spices.

The draw is good. There is a lot of smoke and the salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The burn is good too. This cigar is medium-full bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is two hours and five minutes

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Would I buy this cigar again? Due to the price, it will be once in a blue moon. But I do like it, a lot.

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Categories: 91, Diamond Crown, Dominican cigars, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia | Tags: , , , ,

Joya Silver Robusto

I always had a soft spot for Joya de Nicaragua. Ever since I smoked my first Antaño 1970, which was one of the strongest cigars available back then. And that soft spot grew once I got to know the company better when we became the official distributor for The Netherlands. I even visited the factory in Esteli twice.

Now, this Joya Silver is the latest release. Nicaraguan filler, Mexican binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper make up this box pressed cigar. It’s the third installment of the ‘color’ series which started with the Joya Red, followed by the Joya Black and now the Joya Silver. I have not smoked this cigar prior to the review.


The box pressed cigar looks nice. The Habano wrapper has a nice color, even though the wrapper doesn’t seem very oily. The ring has a fresh, modern design. A white ring with silver letters and the Joya logo in red. Classy yet contemporary. The cigar feels well made. The aroma is strong, deep and complex. I smell leather, horses, soil and those kinds of aromas.


The cold draw is good, the flavors are pepper on the lips and raisin on the palate. I immediately taste cedar, leather, spices with a dash of citrus. There’s also some salt. The spices remind me of a bit of gingerbread. After half a centimeter I taste some sweetness too, mild though, with the gingerbread and the cedar. Halfway I also taste some pepper, wood, leather, and soil. The final third still has that nice gingerbread spice, with some leather and mild pepper. Later on, some spiced sweetness shows up too with some toast.


The smoke is incredible, so thick, so full. The draw is good. The ash is light colored but not firm. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied, medium-full flavored. The smoke time is 2 hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, always good to have them around
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Categories: 91, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro No.1

One of the first Tatuaje Cigars ever released was the Tatuaje Nuevitas. And those were not made at El Rey de Los Habanos, the factory owned and operated by the Garcia family. It was the only Tatuaje line ever made outside of the family, at Tabacalera Tropical. But in 2007, Pete Johnson discontinued the cigar and all Tatuaje cigars since have been made at My Father Cigars.


In 2018, Johnson re-released the brand. This time made at My Father S.A. in Esteli. It is a Nicaraguan Puro with a Corojo 99 wrapper. The name comes from a Cuban village and the Jibaro name is Puerto Rican slang for a farmer. The Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro is Johnson’s tribute to farm rolled cigars and based upon a farm rolled Cuban cigars he had years ago while visiting the Caribbean paradise.

At first glance, you think something is wrong with the cigar. The wrapper looks damaged at the foot, but that’s how Johnson intended it to look. An unfinished foot, mimicking the not perfect looking farm rolled cigars. The dark brown, oily, wrapper has some clear, yet thin, veins which fit the theme of a rustic looking cigar. The simple, orange and white ring, is small, timeless yet doesn’t look dated. The cigar has a perfect triple cap and feels well constructed. The aroma is quite strong, it smells like oak and farm animals.

The cold draw is great, I taste pure raw tobacco, which is quite spicy. From the start, I taste coffee and soil. It’s a pretty mild start, where I expected a front-loaded cigar. The moment the burn hits the wrapper, pepper joins in and it’s a strong pepper. After a few more puffs, toast and leather join in with the coffee, soil, and pepper flavors. Slowly the flavors evolve to more earthy, with some oak and a hint of dark chocolate. On the background, I taste something that comes close to nutmeg. After a centimeter, the flavors are more those of spices, with dark chocolate and pepper. And the spices are things like cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice. There is also a little citrus acidity. Then suddenly, at the beginning of the second third, a dominant hazelnut flavor shows up, with some leather, and pepper. The pepper is gaining strength. The final third has more wood, with pepper. In the last part of the cigar, I taste hay, leather and lots of pepper.

The draw is close to perfection. The right amount of air resistance without becoming tight. The smoke has a good density and volume. The burn is straight. But you have to concentrate not to let the burn die. This is a full-bodied, medium-full flavored cigar. There is a heavy nicotine content in this blend. The smoke time is two hours and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, no box though, but a fiver.

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Categories: 91, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars, Tatuaje | Tags: , , , ,

Balmoral Añejo XO Gran Toro

In 2012, Agio introduced the Balmoral Añejo 18 series with an 18-year-old wrapper. That cigar was such a hit that the next year another batch was released until the company ran out of wrapper that old. Yet the demand was so high, that the company decided to tweak the blend and use that blend for a new Añejo line, the Balmoral Añejo XO, introduced in 2014. After that, the Añejo lines got more offspring with Oscuro or Connecticut wrappers for example. And the lines were introduced to the US market too.

I think I wrote this before, but my opinion on Balmoral wasn’t that highly until they released that Añejo 18. From the first puff I loved that cigar, and actually, the Balmoral Añejo XO FT Lancero is still one of the highest scoring cigars on cigarguideblog.com ever. So it’s time to see if this 6×52 Gran Toro comes closes. The blend, with Dominican, Brazilian and Nicaraguan fillers, a Dominican binder and a Sungrown Arapiraca wrapper from Brazil is the same, only the vitola is different.

The rings are beautiful, classic yet elegant with a nice color scheme of gran, beige and gold. The foot ring has the same vibe. The wrapper is quite dark, without getting Maduro or Oscuro dark though, just a nice reddish brown dark. There’s one large vein on the back of the cigar, but for a Brazilian wrapper, this cigar looks smooth. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is strong, a little acidic with wood and barnyard aromas.

The cold draw is amazing, with strong raw tobacco and raisin aromas. After lighting, I taste coffee, espresso-like, strong, with a little pepper. Then liquid cane sugar shows up, with leather and wood. The leather is the main attraction. The wood with a nice sweetness becomes the main flavor after a centimeter, with some green herbs as well. All flavors are peppery too. After a third, the leather returns, with still the pepper, the sweetness, and some citrus. The mouthfeel it buttery, creamy. I also taste some soil and a mild metallic flavor. Halfway I taste more wood, still that mild metallic flavor and leather. The final third is creamy with pepper and leather. Near the end, the sweetness returns, with green herbs, pepper, and nuts.

The draw is flawless. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is quite dark, but firm and with nice black rings. I would call this cigar medium-full bodied, full flavored. The sweetness of the Brazilian wrapper ties all the flavors together. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

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Categories: 91, Agio Caribbean Tobacco Company, Balmoral, Dominican cigars | Tags: , , , ,

My Father La Gran Oferta Lancero

I still remember the first cigar from My Father Cigars that I ever smoked. That was before it was called My Father cigars and before they moved to Nicaragua. Back in the day, when they only had that small El Rey de Los Habanos factory on Callo Ocho in Miami. It was the first release of the Don Pepin Garcia Black Label and I’ve been a fan since. And lucky enough to have visited that small factory, the main factory in Esteli and the new small operation in the My Father HQ in Miami.


I bought this My Father La Gran Oferta Lancero in Amsterdam. The cigar is made with Nicaraguan filler and binder, all grown on the My Father plantations. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado, a wrapper that is high on my favorite list. So this cigar already starts with +++, one plus for the factory, another plus for the wrapper and the third + for the vitola.

The dark reddish wrapper is oily, with some tooth. The triple cap is nice with a small pigtail. Contrary to the Flor de Las Antillas and La Antiguedad, the old artwork isn’t used on the ring, just on the boxes. The cigars have the regular My Father ring with a secondary ring mentioning La Gran Oferta. The foot is protected by a piece of cloth. The aroma is strong, hay and farm animals are what I get. The construction feels good.

The cold draw is good and reminds me of pepper and sultanas. After lighting, I taste a strong espresso flavor. Soon it’s more leather with green herbs. I get some nutmeg too with a little bit of black pepper. There is some hay in the flavor too. After an inch, I taste cinnamon sweetness with some mild pepper on the background. There’s also some dried leaves. After a third I taste a little leather again, sweet yet dry. Halfway it’s leather and cinnamon, some mild wood, pepper, and sweetness. In the final third, the pepper is picking up. I also taste some citrus and some cinnamon. Then some nuts show up, macadamia to be precise.

The ash is light colored. Not very firm though. The burn is good, just a few little touch-ups. The draw is flawless. The smoke is medium in volume and thickness but it gets thicker along the way. The cigar is medium at most, well balanced and rounded, mellow and smooth. The smoke time is two and a half hours

Would I buy this cigar again? I liked it so yes

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Categories: 91, My Father, My Father Cigars, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Mbombay Habano Robusto

A Dutch friend of mine was raving about Mbombay for a while, a brand that back then, and we’re talking about 4 years ago, never ever heard of. He gave me two to try, I smoked one, which I liked, and kept the other to write a review. But since I have so many cigars, the review had to wait for a while.


The cigars are made in Costa Rica with a blend of Honduran, Nicaraguan and Dominican filler, a Dominican binder and a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The owner of the brand is a shop owner in Palm Springs, California, Mel Shah, who decided to open a cigar shop after his career in IT. Now he is a brand owner too, with distribution all over the USA.


The wrapper looks amazing, dark, smooth and oily as far as I can see. And that’s not far because the cigar has a ring that covers most of the cigars. It is a very detailed ring with all Indian symbols and figures I guess. The construction feels good and I love the closed foot. The cigar has a mild manure aroma.


After I cut the cigar I notice a tight cold draw but then I remember the closed foot. I taste raw tobacco with a mild minty flavor. After lighting I taste white ground pepper and soil. Medium in strength. After a few puffs I taste some sweetness with the white pepper and cedar, clean clear cedar. The pepper disappears quickly. After a third I taste more agave syrup like sweetness. Halfway it’s cedar with sweetness and just a little spice. At the end I taste a little nuts too.


The smoke is white and quite thick. The draw is great after the foot opens. The white ash is firm. The burn needed some help, but I blame the ventilator in the back of the room for that. The evolution is subtle, the cigar is medium bodied, medium plus flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Costa Rican cigars, Mbombay, Tabaccos de Costa Rica | Tags: , , ,

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